Red cabbage and potato hash
02 March 2018
My little village has been assailed by the elements over the last couple of days. Snow, more snow, and then strong winds to blow it all into drifts that have, at times, managed to close all the roads in and out of the place. The roads eventually get cleared, but not before our genteel version of panic buying has hit the village shop, which currently has no milk or bread, and no carrots. There are other gaps for sure, but those are the things I wanted to buy and saw only empty shelves staring back at me.
Fortunately, today is a leftovers day anyway. At the weekend, I had the first of the Spice Pioneer meals on subscription. I reviewed their service here, and you’ll note that I said it was so good I was going to give them my money and subscribe, and I did. The first meal was New Orleans style cooking - prawn creole with a crunchy slaw. It was so good, I really do recommend their service if you want to try some new things.
However, the crunchy slaw gave me a food waste potential problem. It was fab - a combination of red and white cabbage with a fantastic, tangy and creamy dressing. But it left me with three quarters of a red cabbage. And three quarters of a white cabbage.
I wanted the carrot to add to home made sauerkraut - the destination for the white cabbage. But for the red cabbage, I wanted something more immediate. So I bought a couple of decent sized potatoes and an onion and decided on some simple comfort food. Red cabbage and potato hash.
I’d only ever eaten corn beef hash in the past, which was tasty in a definitely-not-good-for-you kind of a way. You might wonder what makes something a ‘hash’. Nothing very much. The name comes from the French hacher - to chop. You chop stuff. You cook it. It will generally have cubes of potato. It often has meat, but doesn’t have to. It is usually topped with a fried or poached egg. And otherwise, anything goes.
So, yes, a hash is a great, quick and tasty way to use up leftovers. Remember that one of the keys to reducing food waste from your kitchen is having a number of staple dishes in your repertoire that are good at using up the kind of food waste you tend to create. Dishes like spaghetti puttanesca are great, but very specific. Hash is on the much more adaptable end.
That said, in this case I was worried that the dish might be a little on the simple side. I had an industrial quantity of red cabbage (well, it felt like it anyway), potato and some onion. Surely there needed to be more?
Good life lesson here. Actually no - it was perfectly delicious as it was. Yes, you could have added more. Some people will add apple to the red cabbage in a dish like this with some thyme. You could throw in some paprika, whatever you fancy. But the simplest base is tasty enough.
Red cabbage and potato hash
This is not one of those recipes where it falls apart if you don't use the exact quantities, so feel free to fit it to whatever quantities you have to hand. The only non-negotiable is that it's one egg per person!
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 red cabbage (or however much you have to use up), chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
20g unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the potatoes in a pan of salted water until just soft, drain, season with a little sea salt and put to one side uncovered so the remaining water evaporates.
Add two tablespoons vegetable oil to a large frying pan and fry the onion over a medium high heat until softened. Then add the red cabbage, and continue to cook for 10 minutes or so, until it is starting to soften.
Add the butter, and then the potatoes, mixing them in. Push the mixture down, trying to get all the potatoes in contact with the pan and then cook for a few minutes without stirring to get the potatoes browning. Then stir and push down again. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
While that is cooking, heat a tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan, and break a couple of eggs in to gently fry.
Once the eggs are done, spoon some of the hash onto a warmed plate and top with the fried egg. A little sprinkle of salt and pepper on the egg and serve.
Voila - almost-instant comfort food - and, this version at least, relatively good for you!
Food waste notes
This recipe is really for using stuff up and, in my case, there was therefore zero food waste resulting from it. Woo hoo. Of course, if you don’t have left over red cabbage, and you buy a new one and use half of it for this recipe, then you have half a red cabbage to use up. Oh, the irony. The trick in that case is to use the whole cabbage and double the other quantities save for the eggs, and then freeze half of the quantity of hash for eating at a later date.